Shiv Sena proposes, Congress opposes Aurangabad name change

The ruling Shiv Sena and Congress are pitted against each other on the politically sensitive issue of renaming Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar. The Congress, on Thursday, announced that, despite sharing power in the Maha Vikas Aghadi, it will strongly oppose any move in this regard, as it is not included in the Common Minimum Programme. Congress party’s stand was revealed today by state unit president Balasaheb Thorat.

The trigger for Thorat’s announcement today was the reason that, four days ago, Industry Minister Subhash Desai, who is the Aurangabad district guardian minister, in a tweet said “Super Sambhaji Nagar’’ after it had received investment proposals worth Rs 7,500 crore. Netizens took strong objection and asked Desai when Aurangabad will be renamed as Sambhaji Nagar.

Thorat’s statement also comes days after boards of Super Sambhaji Nagar vs Super Aurangabad were on display in the city recently. There is a strong movement at the administrative level to rename Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar. The Divisional Commissioner of Aurangabad has sent such a proposal to the state General Administration Department.

Shiv Sena has been quite aggressive to rename Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar. “We will oppose naming Sambhaji Nagar. The Maha Vikas Aghadi has been formed on the issue of development. MVA’s Common Minimum Programme does not include any proposal to rename cities in this way," said Thorat.

“We are pursuing development with the common man in focus. And the state is embracing the basic principles of the constitution. We do not approve of changing the name of the city. We will definitely oppose this proposal,” noted Thorat.

Shiv Sena has been pursuing the renaming of Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar after the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation had sent such a proposal on June 19, 1995, to the state government. Subsequently, the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance government issued a notification on the change of name. However, it was not implemented during these years, but the Shiv Sena has raked it up again. All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen led by Asaduddin Owaisi has also opposed the move to rename Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar. The ball is now in the state cabinet’s court. If the cabinet clears the proposal, it will be forwarded to the central government for its approval.

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